Friday, 8 June 2007

5 Ways to Save Money… Whilst At Work

For the sake of argument, I’d like you to image that you work a 52 week year, Monday to Friday, 9 til 5. You get four week’s holiday a year, and, again, just for the sake of argument, that National Holidays add up to another week. So, all in all, you get five week’s holiday a year… So we’re basing these savings on a 47 week year.

Now, by no means am I a financial advisor, but I reckon that by sticking to these tips, you may just save enough money each year to have a bit more cash for your holiday, or a new outfit, or whatever takes your fancy…

Don’t Drive to Work
At the moment, I spend £20 a week on fuel. I drive a 2.2 diesel engine – maybe I could reduce that fuel spend by getting a smaller engined car, but we’ll not talk about that here… I would say that at least £10 a week is work fuel. How can I save that cash? Well, the ultimate in economy is either walking to work, or cycling to work – it’s free, it’s green, and it’s good for you. Instantly saving, in my 47 week year, £470.00. On fuel alone. Wow. Let’s also add to that the fact that driving to work increases wear and tear – tyres, breaks, you know, general things… So let’s just add another £100.00 to that - £570.00 a year. Cool.

However, let’s face the facts – you may not be able to walk or cycle to work, it may not be feasible for you – what else can you do? Well, you could car share with a colleague – meaning that your expense is halved (or more, if you car share with more people.) Maybe car sharing isn’t an option – how about getting the bus? You could buy a weekly/monthly/annual bus pass, significantly reducing the costs. And, you wouldn’t have the stress of driving.


Bring Your Own Lunch
Let’s just say that every day of every work week, you buy lunch – a ready meal from the supermarket, or a sandwich from the service station, or something from the local sandwich shop. This is really hurting your pocket. At Greggs, the local sandwich shop, you can get a Meal Deal. That’s a sandwich and a drink for £2.00. Let’s just say that you add a packet of crisps, or a doughnut, for 50p. That’s £2.50. Every day. Weekly, that’s £12.50. In our 47 week year, that’s £587.50. Phew. That is a lot of cash being eaten up. But, it’s unrealistic to say that you can save all of that – after all, you need to eat. But. You can save a significant amount of money by buying the ‘raw materials’ yourself, and making your own lunch. Let’s stick with sandwiches. Here’s a basic ingredients list, with approximate prices – note – these prices have not been sourced, they are ‘guestimates’:

Loaf of bread. £1.00.
3 Tins of tuna. £1.50.
1 small tub of butter/marge/mayo/whatever. 75p.
Cucumber/tomatoes. 80p.

That will last you a week (at least). That has cost you £4.05. Yearly, that is still the hefty sum of £190.35. But you have just saved yourself £397.15.


Buy Cheap Clothes
Now, I’m by no means a fashion guru. I couldn’t care less if my colleagues think that my shirt is loud – that my tie doesn’t match, that my jacket is ‘so last year’. I don’t care. Do you? Well, if so, you are suffering – financially. Now, I’m going to focus on the gents here, but this applies equally (perhaps more so) to the ladies.

Let’s just say that you like to buy a new work outfit every month. Considering the fact that you’ve got a month’s worth of holidays, let’s just say that there are 11 months. Now then, we’ll say that you work in quite a casual office, so it’s just a shirt and tie, trousers, shoes and coat requirement. Three pairs of shoes a year, two coats a year. Let’s keep this basic…

If you decided to go to Next, or River Island, or Debenhams for your workwear, you’re looking at (approx.)
£25 for a shirt,
£15 for a tie
£40 for a pair of trousers
£40 for a pair of shoes
£75 for a coat

So, in eleven months, you would buy:
11 shirts (£275.00)
11 ties (£165.00),
perhaps just five pairs of trousers (£200.00)
3 pairs of shoes (£120.00)
2 coats (£150.00)

That means that you are spending a grand total of: £910.00. I know, I know, some women may spend that in a month... But this is just for generalisation. Now, again, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re not going to spend ANY cash on clothes – but it’s HOW you spend it…

So, instead of shopping at Next, River Island, and Debenhams, how about you go for a cheaper alternative – I’m going to pick George, the clothes section at my local ASDA. Okay, now, again, I haven’t sourced these prices – but I know roughly how much these things cost:
£7.50 for a shirt,
£6 for a tie
£15 for a pair of trousers
£20 for a pair of shoes
£40 for a coat

That is significantly cheaper… so, let’s buy our annual workwear from George, and our spending will be:

11 shirts (£82.50)
11 ties (£66.00),
perhaps just five pairs of trousers (£75.00)
3 pairs of shoes (£60.00)
2 coats (£80.00)

Spending a grand total of: £363.50. Saving you a whopping £546.50.

Moral? If you stuff fashion, you will literally stuff your wallet… Nice.


Say No to Drugs – Don’t Smoke at Work!
Now, I’m not a smoker, so I may need a bit of help with this one… how many cigarettes do you smoke in an average week, whilst at work? Lets say that you smoke one on your way in, one on a mid morning break, one on a lunch break, one on an afternoon break, and one on your way home. That’s five a day. I think that ciggies come in packs of twenty. I reckon they are probably £4.00 a packet, if not more. So that’s a pack per week. Pack that in, and you’ll save yourself £188.00 a year. Not to mention the benefits to your lungs, your clothes, and the environment.


Drink More Water
At one of my previous jobs, someone used to keep a ‘Tea Fund’. If you wanted to participate in the coffee break ritual, you had to pay to be in it. Pay for the milk, pay for the coffee, the tea, the sugar, the biscuits, the sweeteners… etc etc. This fund was £1.00 per week. Not a hefty amount, really, is it… but multiply that by your 47 weeks, and it most certainly adds up. My recommendation? Make use of the water coolers in the building, or fill your mug from the tap. Too much coffee is bad for you anyway…


In conclusion, then, this rough estimate has determined that:
by being a little bit more environmentally friendly (not driving to work)
by setting aside a little bit more time (by preparing your own lunch)
by paying less attention to fashion (by purchasing cheaper clothes)
by kicking the the nicotine habit (at work at least, anyway)
by reducing your caffeine intake (by drinking more water)

You can save the grand sum of £1748.65 a year.
What are you waiting for – start saving your hard earned cash now!

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